Hillary Clinton gave a gracious concession speech Wednesday morning at a Manhattan Hotel with teary-eyed family and campaign staffers surrounding her.
“I know how disappointed you feel because I feel it too and so do the tens of millions of Americans who invested their hopes and dreams in this effort,” she said. “This is painful and will be for a very long time. But I want you to remember this: Our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.”
Clinton, who lost eight years ago in the Democratic primary to President Barack Obama, had earlier talked with president-elect Donald Trump.
“I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country,” she said. “I hope he will be a successful president for all Americans.”
In an appeal to younger, somewhat disillusioned voters – many millennial Democrats were slow to embrace the former U.S. Secretary of State – Clinton said nothing comes easy in the long struggle for justice.
“I have spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in,” she said. "I have had successes and I have had setbacks – sometimes really painful ones. Many of you at the beginning of your professional, public and political careers will have successes and setbacks too. This loss hurts. But please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
And, finally, to the girls and women who saw in Clinton as a role model and a woman’s rights advocate extraordinaire, the defeated presidential candidate offered a candid acknowledgement that, though down, women one day will rise to the top.
“We need to keep up these fights now and for the rest of our lives,” she said. “To all the women, especially the young women who put their faith in this campaign and in me, I want you to know that nothing has made me prouder than to be your champion. I know we still have not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but some day someone will and hopefully sooner than we might think. And to all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”